5 Twists on Christmas Eve Fish

fish stew

For many families, especially Italian-Americans, Christmas Eve is the Night of 7 Fishes. That's 7 different fish dishes for dinner, if you follow tradition strictly! Or maybe just one as the main course. Either way, the idea is you celebrate the night Jesus was born by refraining from eating meat. But that doesn't mean the dinner can't be extra special!

So many fishes in the sea, so many different ways to cook them. You've probably had the baked cod and the pasta in clam sauce, the fried calamari, and the anchovies. Maybe you're even brave enough for the octopus salad. But why not try something unique this year? I've found 5 festive fish dishes to spice up your Christmas Eve dinner.


The Bar Snack: Pan-fried tuna croquettes. This is one of my favorite fish recipes and I make it every Christmas Eve. It's actually Italian bar food, but if you're down with that, this recipe is pretty simple -- and did I mention it's also cheap? Canned tuna never tasted so good. Since it's Christmas, I'll shell out a few extra coins for the olive oil-packed tuna, which works better for this recipe.

The Fusion Fish: Spicy tuna sashimi with pickled jalapeños. Calling sushi fans -- you can do this dish! This recipe is from Food Curated's OMG Sides guide. It sounds fancy and difficult, but there's a reason why Liza calls it "easy peasy." You're just cutting that raw tuna against the grain and adding pickled jalapeños. Ole! You'll want to use super-fresh tuna. Give it a whiff before paying for it. The rest is cake -- well, sashimi, but you know what I mean.

The Hearty Soup: Fisherman's stew. What I like about this recipe is how versatile it is: You can use just about any fish that's available (and affordable!). If you're strict with the no-meat tradition, just skip the chorizo. Either way, fish stew is a warm, cozy way to celebrate Christmas Eve. Check out Nona Brooklyn's Feast of the 7 Fishes for more fish recipes.

The Sandwich: Grilled shrimp po' boy. If you're looking for a more casual Christmas Eve dinner but don't mind splurging on shrimp, go Cajun with this New Orleans classic. You'll want to make that spicy remoulade sauce a few hours early so the flavors have time to meld. This decadent sandwich is anything but "Po."

The Show-Stopping App: Seared scallops with avocado mousse and chipotle sauce. This is one impressive-looking appetizer, but it's actually super-simple to make. It's also a more economical way to indulge in scallops -- just one per person, but what a succulent, flavorful one it is! Check out the Christmas Eve salad from Muy Bueno, too.

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